tv [untitled] January 25, 2012 2:30am-3:00am EST
if. you want to. follow him and welcome to cross talk computor all about egypt's unfinished business a year on the revolution that youth activist spirit appears to have stalled the military rulers who replaced mubarak seem to be exploiting opposition splits and popular fears of chaos to shore up their power and confine the extent of change is a counter revolution now managing egypt. cross-talk change in egypt a year after the revolution i'm joined by bradley blakeman in washington he was a senior staffer in the administration of george w. bush and currently a professor at georgetown university in chicago we have david faris he's an assistant professor of political science at roosevelt university all right
gentlemen this is crosstalk that means you can jump in anytime you want and i very much encourage it but first let's see what's happened in egypt a year on. the iconic séance of the egyptian revolution shook the middle east and the west by the magnitude of the events and the dramatic changes that followed it tolls started with a day afraid when thousands of egyptians took to the streets of cairo with a very clear intention to end of the thirty year rule of their leader hosni mubarak the most fail is stood their ground in the thick of the deadly clashes until their primary demand was met the political turmoil caused egypt hundreds of lives and an economic turndown however didn't give vent to mubarak's reforms rhetoric the crowd made it clear it could no longer accept the status quo and it took them eighteen days of protests to get this message across finally mubarak stepped down never the less overt some leader left the country in the hands of the man. so many people
think nothing has changed in egypt one year since the revolution but the whole society is different the state however and its policies haven't changed the country now is no longer governed by power those who held power in the past are now trapped in defensive oppression imprisonment murder all of this is evidence of the confusion fear and horror they are feeling the critics agree it's very unlikely that and it's serious reforms which take place while the council is there even after the parliamentary elections the muslim brotherhood's freedom and justice party the twelve that may try to say it's is predicted to have a hard time addressing social and economic problems and to scoff nonetheless the country's domestic and foreign policy will change going to be a much more religious conservative place and much more hostile to the west well some experts convinced sharia law will be forced in egypt others believe in the rise of moderate islamic parties whatever the parties that have long been
marginalized will now have to be dealt with so far egyptians have demonstrated exceptional determination to build in egypt and elbowing their way towards them are just society but once you're on the revolution isn't finished it's may take another hero for uprising to really own the change and whatever egypt does will be closely watched and even exemplified in the region even though the consequences get. innocent the trauma cross-talk r.t. . ok bradley if i go to you first i mean one year on what has changed in egypt because you could make the claim that it's the mubarak regime without mubarak that's really the the biggest difference between now and a year ago would you agree with that. well it remains to be seen i think they had a raucous start to their parliament. you know it was reminiscent really of the
birth of america took us to leaven years to get our act together after our revolution so it's going to have to take some time to shake out the muslim brotherhood is in charge we still have presidential elections to be had and the military needs to step down and the west should really come to the aid of the egyptians now when they need it the most especially on the economic front and give them the kind of a that will help their people get on their feet that's what they need now and let's give it some time to shake out but a lot of changes have already taken place a lot more have to do and i'm cautiously optimistic that the egyptian people will find their way ok david if i can go to you i mean in light of what just bradley had to say it seems to me and i'm going to be a senator that's my job here is that the u.s. the west and they feel very comfortable working with the egyptian military they have been partners for decades right now and they're still having the same kind of relationship minus mubarak so the status quo is is quite convenient for the west
right now and the military doesn't really want to go i mean they're putting up roadblocks at one after another we'll see you have we have a presidential election and people say that they the candidate will be chosen by the military they'll get their man it'll be business as usual what do you think about that. you know i think there's the there's something to that but i also think we need to take the long view here and think about what egypt looked like a year ago today before the revolution you had a regime that in power for thirty years that employed something along the lines of two million internal security members and that was swept away by a by a popular uprising and i do think that there have been enormous political changes in egypt i think i don't think it's fair to say that the status quo remains because a year ago you wouldn't have had free elections you wouldn't you would never have had a parliament led by the muslim brotherhood the freedom and justice party being seated
absolutely and. and going to the parliament and having this iraq as debate on the first and it was iraq yes but i mean democracy is a ruckus so if you look at any particular day in the house of commons in the u.k. you see a kind of similar ferment so i don't think that we should be that we should be frightened by what's happening in our own life and i don't think we should be frightened i think and know it it's not being frightened i mean it is it's going to have an effect ok because if i go back to bradley i mean if we have this very strong president and again this is we'll see what's written in the constitution the writing on the constitution before the presidential election if it's going to be a very strong presidency then it's still going to be the same more or less what we have right now and i'd like to point out what another huge change since a year ago is the economic situation is very poor so again i mean the military just is not going to want to leave we all know that they have a huge vested interest in the economy are they going to divest themselves from the economy that seems very unlikely. well it's
a good idea but not others around the ones i have to say i don't want to live well it's up to the newly elected president who had bradley to get their economic house in order and we can help in that regard they need about three billion dollars of capital immediately but we should do it like a millennium fun and not just give it out right we need to watch it we need to treat it as trust money to make sure that it's being spent properly and gets to the people it's intended use we've we've been down this road before with pumping up governments that we thought would be friendly giving the money outright and the money was used against us so i think we do have to join partners with the with the european union with our friends in the middle east and we have to use our best efforts now to help the people of egypt and let the government make the changes they need to make and also put pressure on the military to stand down and hopefully the presidential elections will be one that will be free and fair but they were off to a good start i think i don't think we should be too pessimistic with a raucous parliament start i think that that in a way in a way was
a good thing i mean you don't expect things after thirty years of dictatorship to be. lockstep you need you need that give and take of government we see it in our government all over the world in free societies it's a good thing ok if i go back to david what about the muslim brotherhood is that a you know there are very powerful force now at least politically in egypt and and if there's a free and fair election in the military doesn't get in the way too much we may have a candidate from the same organization and now if we look very carefully at what they have to say they're not particularly friendly towards the west or not particularly friendly to the united states because they back to dictatorship for thirty years i mean what kind of relationship would a muslim brotherhood egypt and the west have particularly the united states well i mean to first of all i don't think it's quite fair to say that the brotherhood back to the dictatorship of thirty years i mean i know i said you know it's a western t.v. and i don't know that it's a lot of but you know not. sometimes you know the united states supported the
dictatorship not the muslim brotherhood they were actually sure by the way i'm sure that the us administration is not i'm sure the us administration is not is not happy by the share of the seats one by the brotherhood party and by the newer party which is the vehicle by salafist. but i think that we've known i mean if we had a clear look at what was going to happen from the first day of the arab spring we knew that the brotherhood was going to be the group that inherited power and post mubarak egypt and they haven't given any indication so far the they're going to pursue. for a tarion party is in fact they're playing the sort of more moderate foil to the to the nor party and i think it would really benefit the united states to work closely with with the freedom and justice party and its leadership to try to hammer out some kind of a loose consensus about foreign policy goals and things like that it will be a more contentious relationship there's no question because there's nothing easier then than working with an authoritarian regime that you support that to me windows
and i don't think there's any and that's changed but there's no indication that they're going to be authoritarian why is there assumption that they're going to be authoritarian i mean they will played a very positive role during the revolution they've played a very moderate role since then but everyone every if it gets the jitters in the west you know when they hear this organization could be calling the shots real soon and we're looking at foreign policy as you pointed out and of course israel is brought up. sure well i mean we have a we have a thirty year discourse that was actually you know propagated by the mubarak regime that it was effectively you know it's us or it's the crazies leninists you know and so that's been the discourse in the u.s. and because the brotherhood is a bit less accommodating on foreign policy issues like israel there is there's a great fear i think in policy circles in the west the brotherhood is going to sweep into power overturn the peace treaty and pursue a much more aggressive foreign policy but i do think that as long as the military
is kind of lurking in the background which which they've given every indication that they're going to continue to do that that they want to maintain a set of privileges extra-constitutional privileges that they're not going to give up at least not this cycle i do think those fears are a bit overblown. in terms of what might actually happen once the brotherhood takes power assuming that they even win the presidency right which is not which is not a foregone conclusion but what do you think about that you are more afraid of the egyptian military or the muslim brotherhood. i'm going to both the military does have a very good track record go ahead with the military does have a real good track record with the people as you pointed out the massive security apparatus of the last thirty years the intelligence services the police the military what the real wild card here is how will the gyptian parliament the new president the military be dealing with israel it's not so much how they're going to
be dealing with the united states or their trading griezmann agreements or the peace agreements going to be honored that's that's really a more concern to me because i believe the main job here we're going to want to show it we're going to short break and work and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on egypt state party.
welcome back to cross talk i'm peter lavelle to remind you we're talking about the revolution in egypt one year on. and you can see. it in its case very interesting john minto in reading some of the media coverage of the revolution when you're on the up and not really american but more like british and european is it to instead of this kind of dichotomy we have the muslim brotherhood in the military it looks more and more like there were in cahoots with each other ok and particularly when writing this constitution now do you think that the the the democratic element of this revolution is being swept away by these two major forces because they're going to make a deal and it's not necessarily a deal it's going to be very public because the military doesn't want to be very open about it because we all know about their privileges so if i go to you on that david i mean so maybe it's just the cut you know it's not the extremes it's two different groups together that are very different they're going to make a deal with each other in that doesn't necessarily mean it has to be democratic.
well i think that i think that there are actually great tensions between the brotherhood in the military on a number of issues including how much power the parliament will actually have so i think to say that they're in cahoots with another might be a little bit premature because i think that there are going to be very significant issues you know after the parliament is seated and starts to try to pass legislation. the may drive a wedge between the military and the brotherhood the second thing is i think if you take the long view on this a lot of revolutions a lot of democratic transitions take several cycles to kind of shake out the authoritarian elements so i don't think that we should be surprised or even that alarmed if the military does remain retain some of its privileges because what we've seen again and again over the past year is that social forces will take to the streets to press the military on some of these issues if you if you think back to when the military said it was going to turn over power to
a president until two thousand and thirteen people took to the streets and then very suddenly the military regime said ok ok we'll have elections in june of two thousand and thirteen so i think even if there is this sort of tacit alliance between the brotherhood and the regime which i'm not sure we can really say i also think there's still a lot of space in egyptian society for people to go back to tahir and some of the other squares across egypt and press the regime and if necessary press the brother the press the brotherhood on some of these issues in the bradley if i can be kind of change gears here i mean i was reading some interesting analysis about the revolution when you're on and one writer put it this way is that you know the people that started this revolution they have themselves to blame because all they had one demand is getting getting rid of mubarak and that was more or less that and once you got that you didn't have any leaders you didn't really have an agenda and this is one of the reasons why the revolution has drifted because you have other forces that have come into play waiting out departure and then they can fill the gap because as we know the muslim brotherhood was supportive of the protesters but
they weren't really and. volved and they made sure that there were no religious banners on the square and things like that they played a very low profile. role in all of this and now we see things have changed very differently the liberal parties did very badly in the election so it's still very much a wild card where this can go and we may be more than anything else we'll see a form of islamic democracy and not a liberal democracy well look you can fool some of the people some of the time if if there is a deal being made by the military and accommodation it's got to be one that the people except the people have tremendous distrust of the military and if the military doesn't stand down an offer to let the political parties and the and the power of the political parties and power rise to the occasion and the people feel that they're being governed by a civilian authority i think they're going to be more protests so i think the muslim brotherhood are fooling themselves if they can make an accommodation with
the military that the people will reject they have a golden opportunity now they had free and fair elections to get where they are today if they have free and fair elections for president they're well on their way to having a stable secure and friendly government not just to the west but to to all freedom loving countries and so the ball is in their hands but the military cannot be the person behind the curtain the people of egypt won't stand for it. david you know in looking at it and one public opinion poll result after another one of the most unpopular countries in egypt today is the united states because of its role in dealing with the dictator ship dictatorship for thirty years that's not changing either that hasn't changed since the the revolution a year ago if the muslim brotherhood and other islamic that were elected if they follow the people's will it will be a very chilly relationship with the united states and as we brought up earlier
possibly revoking the peace treaty with israel. sure well i mean you know some of the most iconic images from from the revolution are protesters picking up tear gas canisters and seeing you know the made in america and that sort of emblematic of the kind of military support that the u.s. gave to egypt over the years i think if you step back from public opinion and you look at what happened after the revolution started you could make an argument that american leverage played a role in getting mubarak to step aside but i don't think we should expect that to be the sort of like dominant paradigm in egypt where the we do have a very we are held in very low esteem our foreign policy not americans themselves but the foreign policy is held in very low esteem and i don't think that really going to change until something changes on the israeli palestinian front. and that's not something that the u.s. can control in egypt it's not something that the brotherhood can really do anything
about that's a larger geostrategic issue that's really dragging down american popularity throughout the region because we are i think rightly seen as backing the israelis even though i mean there's a much chillier relationship between the obama administration and israel right now still the sort of basic contours of that relationship are still there it's very obvious to egyptians in the big thing is that egyptians no longer want to be complicit in forcing this bargain you know they don't want to be complicit in shutting off the gaza strip and blockading it they want to see their leadership take a bit more of an independent stance towards the united states and towards the israelis . and i think if that happens you might see some of the resent me offer to you know i'll stay here dissipated just a bit go ahead bradley jump in. ok number one is the egyptians have to realize they have enough problems of their own they shouldn't be straying into bilateral relations and causing fights and disruptions beyond
their own borders they have an internal struggle now and they should they should work within before looking with out number two is how are they going to react with iran and their threats to close the straits of hormuz are they going to inject themselves in matters that are really extraneous to their own position and number three if the united states wants to ingratiate themselves with the egyptian people what they've got to do is we've got to offer humanitarian aid we've got to offer loans and services to the egyptian people and not so much you know help up the government but i'm very much you think on their side you know and we wish nothing but the best for them but well i don't i think most egyptians don't believe that ok after thirty years it's hard for them to believe that the last twelve months hasn't changed and i think that's why we've got a lot of work to do now a lot of believe what are these rule intentions if you just leave egypt alone completely and let them decide for themselves let them decide their own foreign policy if they want to tear up the peace treaty with israel i should be very i mean
you're saying there is an object ourselves it should be there it is politics but there's a lot of humanitarian relief that we can help on and that's the kind of work we should be doing ok well i mean if i could stay with you broadly i mean the eight i think you are i think nobody has the right right now it's david jumping ahead so i didn't know the reality is right now it's not it's not going to be strictly humanitarian aid because there's a real there's a real concern about what's going to happen with the peace treaty and things like that and i think if the brotherhood were to take power and win the presidency of this would be a real test of the degree to which the military is still exerting its control through some kind of invisible hand in the background and i think any extent to which the us the scene is cooperating with the military behind the scenes. to prevent elected leadership from making foreign policy changes is definitely not going to do anything for our popularity i think no matter how much humanitarian aid we send the reality is that these larger issues related to israel palestine are
always going to trump whatever we do on the ground because those will be more micro-level initiatives and they won't get the same kind of press attention so i agree that we should be doing that but on the other hand i think that we do have to allow the new elected leadership to kind of steer its foreign policy maybe not into a into a direction where we're going to have a confrontation over israel but in a way to allow the government to flex its independence to show the egyptian people that they are in fact in charge of their own affairs and that they're not like the u.s. is lackey and some way shape or form i think that's really important just for the just for the optics just for the theatricals to allow the egyptians the space to control their for their foreign policy because this is not just about the u.s. this goes back to british control this goes back to two hundred years of feeling like the egyptian people don't have control of their own foreign policy radley frank go to you what do you think about that because if we go back to the peace agreement with that with israel it seems to be either logic it's the other way
around because of hard times because of the economy and be very easy for any government to say you know look over there you know let's help the palestinians and that would you know focus people's attention and in and out of release of frustration and again helping the palestinians in gaza is a very very popular issue among the average egyptian that's how it could turn out. well look if they decide to look beyond their own borders and not solve their own problems they're going to have a lot of problems because we're going to stand the united states four square with israel that's the way it's going to be and if we have to deliver any message to the military or the new political leadership is that message is that if egypt has a choice to make are they going to start their old problems are they going to get involved in other people's problems or have their own get in or have their own foreign policy clear three palestinians to have their rooms where israel says that they're going to have a real problem with us well maybe the average egyptian wouldn't have a problem with having that kind of problem ok david i'm going to give you the last
word although you know the way things were they've done it before i mean i think that with a rock and a hard place here go ahead. the rock and a hard place here right is that the u.s. i think does have an interest in not allowing egyptians to exert some control over their own foreign policy that but if if if they go too far in the eyes of the united states administration in the eyes of the west you might see some of this the funding that's desperately needed in egypt that might dry up you know so the elected leadership of egypt is going to have this a real difficult choice to make about how far to push this independence and foreign policy i do think that you're going to see a change in tone and i think that elected leadership is going to push back against american foreign policy and israeli foreign policy and he's going to see you have run out of time we'll see where many thanks to my guest today in washington and in chicago and thanks to our viewers for watching us here are to see you next time and remember.
with the u.s. economy still on the ropes president obama has another program for changing his i don't state of the union address. in libya gadhafi loyalists claim they're in control of the town of bani walid as the country's interim group is struggling to keep the heat. on coming full circle of thousands of egyptians angry it's the reforms gather in central cairo as the country marks the uprisings first anniversary this is the scene into the square right now thirty years of emergency room partially lifted today.
twelve noon in moscow you're watching r t a very welcome to me as the u.s. presidential race picks up pace of november's vote barack obama is trying to ratchet up support for reelection he's delivered his annual state of the union address making you promises of change ahead well he's going to church you can was listening in his goal was to highlight his achievements and lay out new promises as far as the message policies he speech was full of heartfelt success stories about the economy and jobs creation but there is a lot of skepticism among american social inequality in america is now at a level unseen since the great depression the top one percent of wealthiest in the country are making a killing while.